|Archive available at http://www.ChicagoCoinClub.org/|
|Volume 61 No. 6||June 2015|
This is the last Chatter issue before the ANA’s deadline to submit your Collector Exhibit application — the completed application has to be received at ANA by June 19. The application and rules for exhibiting are on the ANA’s web site, at https://www.money.org/numismatic-events/convention-exhibits. Please take advantage of this opportunity — the ANA will not be back here until 2019!
Carl Wolf is looking for volunteers to work during the show. He anticipates a free daily parking voucher for each volunteer who works at least four hours on that day. Contact Carl at email@example.com for more details — we do not need to know your schedule now, so email Carl before you forget.
Remember, August 11-15! Email any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the local committee will respond.
The 1157th meeting of the Chicago Coin Club was held May 13, 2015 in the Chicago Bar Association Building, 321 S. Plymouth Court, Downtown Chicago. First Vice President Richard Lipman called the meeting to order at 6:45 PM with an attendance of 24 members and 1 guest, Mark Schechter.
V.P. Lipman thanked William Burd for donating a new scanner/document viewer used to project exhibits, which was accompanied by a warm round of applause. He also thanked the Secretary for creating an introduction for each monthly speaker.
A motion was passed to accept the April Minutes as published in the Chatter. Treasurer Steve Zitowsky reported for the month of April revenue of $879.00 expenses of $456.11, net income of $422.89, total assets of $25,255.19 held in Life Membership $1,830.00 and member equity $23425.19. A motion was passed to accept the report.
The membership applications of Dr. Richard Feely and Rhonda Scurek received a second reading and a motion was passed to accept them into the Club. The application of Mark Schechter received first reading.
The Secretary delivered a report from the Central States Numismatic Society Convention which included the names of seven members who received eleven exhibit awards* and ANA President Walter Ostromecki’s presentation to the Club of a “Points of Numismatic Light Program.”
ANA Convention Host Chairman Jeff Rosinia gave an update on a committee meeting with Rhonda Scurek at the CSNS Convention, and pointed out the availability of literature near the room entrance. Jeff gave a detailed report on the cost of creating Club medals for the 2015 ANA Convention and a custom acrylic holder for the 2011, ’13, ’14 and ’15 convention medals. A motion was passed to spend up to $4,500.00, and the Board was given the authority to tweak the numbers if quantities were under or over-guessed.
Second V.P. Marc Stackler introduced the featured speakers: Mark Wieclaw on Russian Beard Tokens of Czar Peter the Great, and Steve Zitowsky on Platinum “Coins” Found in The Field Museum. Following a short question-and-answer period, Marc presented each with an ANA Educational Certificate and engraved Club medal on a neck ribbon.
Marc introduced the ten exhibitors for the evening. EUGENE FREEMAN: 1850 U.S. half cent; RICHARD HAMILTON: Willys-Overland Co. stock certificate; JAMES DAVIS: 4 Civil War store cards; MARK WIECLAW: double-struck new style Athenian tetradrachms (89-88BC), 1965 U.S. mint sets, and elongated coins from CSNS; ROBERT FEILER: U.S. Morgan dollar made into a lighter, 1839 $2 note from Branch Bank at Chicago, and 1794 U.S. large cent copy from Eureka Mint; RICHARD LIPMAN: numismatic themed campaign flyers used for his son’s successful election as high school treasurer, plastic coins from Transnistria, and $5 bank note from Pocahontas, Iowa; STEVE AMBOS: 1903 Hardware Convention letter opener fashioned from a nail, 1723 South Seas Company shilling, and 1906 bond, 2000 Kronen, Credit Anstalt set up by the Rothchild’s in Austria-Hungary; DREW MICHYETA: story of 2 Koblenz kriegs geld coins; DEVEN KANE: 2 17th century luiginos, and 2 coins from the Kingdom of Mysore; JEFF AMELSE: U.S. half cent and 2 large cents with cuds and die cracks.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:09 PM.
Carl Wolf, Secretary
*Chicago Coin Club members who received an exhibit award at CSNS Convention: Second Place, Foreign Coins Prior to 1500 AD, Bruce Bartelt, “The King as Hero”; First Place, Foreign Coins After 1500 AD, Tom Uram, “Kings and Queens of England Through Maundy Money,” also, the John J. Pittman Award for Best Educational Exhibit; Second Place, Medals, Robert Fritsch, “Four Award Medals by Antoine Bovy”; Second Place, U.S. Paper Money, Dan Freeland, “Selected Michigan Nationals from Charter 8723”; Third Place, Foreign Paper Money, John Wilson, “Guatemala 5 Pesos Issue 1895-1915”; Second Place, Tokens, Mark Wieclaw, “Peter the Great Beard Tokens”; Third Place, Miscellaneous, Robert Feiler, “The Thrill of the Hunt,” also the People’s Choice Award, and Best First Time CSNS Exhibitor.
a presentation by Robert D. Evans,
to our April 25, 2015 meeting
The California Gold Rush started propelling the United States from being a developing country and onto the path of being a world power. Bob followed that opening statement with a review of the travel options available between California and Washington in 1850. The overland route was the slowest, the faster and more economical way was by way of Panama (some months), and by ship around South America offered some advantages (the record time for that route was 89 days). Those lengths were for a one-way trip, so it should be obvious that two-way communication between Washington and California was slow. Remember, this was years before a telegraph line was available.
With all of the gold coming from California, two new regular coinage denominations were introduced: a small $1 coin and the large $20 double eagle. (Bob noted that collectors new to US gold might be confused by the $20 coin — although it is called a double eagle, there is only a single eagle on the reverse! All makes sense once they know that the $10 gold coin was called the eagle.)
Although it is hard to feel sympathy for people with much gold dust and nuggets, there are difficulties in carrying on commerce using dust and nuggets of uncertain fineness. There were some private mints in California, but their quality and acceptance varied. California’s Senator William Gwin tried to have Congress authorize a mint in California, but the states with existing mints (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana) or desirous of a mint (New York) — that is ten senators and many representatives — were against the idea from the start. Facing reality, Gwin introduced a measure to authorize the Secretary of Treasury to contract with some well-established California assaying firm to, under the supervision of a US Assayer appointed by the President, mark ingots and bars with a stamp of the United States, their fineness, and their value. Washington expected the result to be ingots in a range of values, from $50 to $10,000.
Augustus Humbert was sent as the US Assayer, and he took dies with him to California. Moffat & Co. was selected as the local assaying firm to perform the actual work. Bob showed an excerpt from Edgar Adams’ Private Gold Coinage of California, 1849-1855: a notice from Moffat & Co that it would accept gold dust, starting on or about February 1, 1851, to be made into gold pieces — these Assay Office pieces were the first legal tender items made by the US in the west. Officially, these pieces were ingots and not coins. The obverse die carried no value; the word THOUS appeared in a banner above the central eagle, and the widely spaced letters D and C appeared below the eagle. Each piece would have its fineness stamped into the space before THOUS, with the value in dollars and cents stamped before the D and C. We saw a picture of a piece of 880 fineness with a value of 50D. This system would allow the ingots to have many slightly different values, but commerce would be simplified if all pieces had the same value.
Adams states Humbert arrived in San Francisco on January 30 or 31, and quotes The Pacific News of February 1 as stating the first coin was shown to them the prior day. That is a very short timeline, or Adams is wrong. Bob showed us an excerpt from the January 9 Daily Alta California which listed, among the passengers arriving on the Tennessee, the US Assayer Augustus Humbert. This gives us a more reasonable timeline.
Produced over a span of two months, there are four known varieties of these pieces, known as K-1 through K-4 (K is for Kagin who identified them). The same obverse die was used for all four varieties, while the reverses are similar but different: a few concentric circles at the center, maybe surrounded by at attempt at rays, with much of the remaining area filled with concentric wavy scalloped lines (the lathe work mentioned by Adams). Not only is the K-3 piece unique, but its reverse also is unique (at least partially engraved instead of completely die struck). Returning momentarily to Adams, we saw mention of the March 20-25, 1885 Woodward sale having a “unique trial impression from the dies of the California octagon Fifty Dollar piece — Reverse, Lathe work.” Bob then asked us three questions:
The rest of Bob’s program focused on his ongoing effort at answering these questions. A complete pedigree of K-3 would be useful, but some gaps remain even after help from others. Start with the 1885 Woodward sale mentioned above — there is no such sale. Former ANS librarian Elizabeth Hahn found there is an 1865 Leavitt-Woodward sale, but the catalog is not illustrated. As we learn more, we ask more questions. How did it arrive in the Woodward sale, and is it really the K-3? What happened between 1865 and 1927 when it appeared in London, illustrated as part of the Peltzer Collection of American Coins offered by Glendining. What happened between 1927 and 1956 when it appeared in New York, illustrated in the June 19-20 New Netherland auction? Regarding the MacAllister that is mentioned for that period, audience member Mark Borckardt mentioned that a Macallister contributed to the Morganthau catalogs of the 1930s and ’40s.
The four K-1 through K-4 varieties were struck using the same obverse die. What can the pieces themselves tell us? John Dannreuther has examined mint state examples of the four varieties; the condition of the ribbon at the right side of the eagle seems to place K-1 as the earliest die state. Bob’s conclusion, for now, is inconclusive, and he continues to research this matter. If you missed this meeting and wish for more details than in this article, David Lisot made a video of the meeting. And we look forward to a future publication once conclusive evidence has been found.
a presentation by Mark Wieclaw,
to our May 13, 2015 meeting
Mark started collecting these tokens in the 1980s, and he completed his collection before 2000. There are only four collectible types, and their prices are much higher now. These tokens are reminders of just one of the efforts, by Peter the Great, to modernize Russia (on the Western model).
Peter was born in 1672, and at the age of ten he became co-ruler with his brother Ivan V;. he was named Tsar of all Russia in 1696 upon the death of Ivan. He visited Western Europe several times, and he issued many decrees aimed at westernizing government and society. An absolute ruler can do that, especially one known to be cruel and tyrranical. His attempts at reform were extensive, even extending to men’s beards.
It is said that in 1697, at a party to welcome Peter back from a visit to London, Peter clipped the beards of his guests as he hugged and kissed them; many of the leaders took the hint and were beardless at a banquet held a few days later. Shortly after that, a tax was levied on anyone wishing to have facial hair, but priests were exempt. The level of taxation was:
Upon payment a token was received and was to be carried at all times. Failure to produce the token on demand would lead to a fine or imprisonment. The first series of tokens was produced in 1698, but these are not collectible as only one piece is known, and it is in the Hermitage Museum. One report says 50,000 were ordered, while an official document discovered in 1930 says 15,903. We know these were used, because an Austrian diplomat described them in a letter home.
The tokens of 1705 are the only originals that collectors will encounter. They are round, struck in copper, and have a mustache and beard with the inscription “Money taken” on the obverse. The reverse shows a Russian eagle and the date 1705. There are two obverse and two reverse dies, with no cross linkage known. All, except one, have a counter-stamp (two headed eagle) on the obverse, although we do not know why or where they were applied. Both sides have a laurel wreath around the boarder, and no mintages are known. Novodels, as official copies are known, do exist in copper with no counter-stamp. There are also rare pieces struck in silver. The quick way to determine the difference between an original and a novodel is the alignment of the nose and the letter ‘A&rdquo above: on the originals the nose is centered with A, while novodels have the nose to the right side of the A. Some pieces were gold plated, but this was done privately.
A new, square shaped token, was proposed but not issued in 1724. This is another noncollectible piece as only a unique pattern exists.
In late 1724 the Senate was shown the 1724 pattern, and on December 13 they directed that 2,000 such pieces be struck with the 1725 date. The obverse says “Tax taken on the beard” with the date. The reverse is blank except for a double boarder of leaves (outer) and triangular foliated ornaments (inner). There were actually 2,600 pieces struck and supposedly placed into circulation. However, on May 17, 1728 a Senate office asked for guidance on what to do with the 2,600 tokens on hand. On June 12, the Senate directed that they be returned to the mint, and melted down to be re-coined as Kopecks. At least one of these escaped the melting pot. Novodels do exist for this piece also. There are two slightly different obverse dies and one reverse die. On some of the tokens using the second die, the edge is lettered “The beard is an extra burden.”
Peter the Great had died on February 8, 1725, and the idea of Beard Tokens was dropped by 1752 — even though some novodels were struck into the 1780s.
a presentation by Steve Zitowsky,
to our May 13, 2015 meeting
During his more than 20 years working as a volunteer at The Field Museum in Chicago, Steve has seen many interesting things. But he still can be pleasantly surprised, as when he recently was cataloging part of the geology collection. This area encompasses, among other things, minerals, meteorites, amd gem stones.
Under the heading Minerals, Platinum were three coins, all identified as from “The Kunz Collection.” Dating back to the museum’s original collection, these had been donated by George Frederick Kunz, a self-taught mineralogist whose expertise landed him at Tiffany & Co — he was a vice president by age of 23! As a special agent for the US Geological Survey, he headed up the US mining and mineralogical exhibits at the 1893 Columbian Expo.
The collection has three platinum coins, but the first two are counterfeits of gold coins! A 1771 8 escudos showing an armored bust of Carlos III has the gold plating wearing off of the high areas, and it appears someone hacked about 80% of the way through it with a sharp blade; it weighs 26.88 grams instead of the expected 27.07 grams. An 1856 100 reales of Isabella II has edge damage and is in two pieces — the top fifth was hacked off somehow; the two pieces weigh a combined 8.44 grams instead of the expected 8.33 grams. The last piece was genuine — an 1829 3 rouble coin of Russia, weighing 10.32 grams instead of the expected 10.35 grams — one of 43,000 minted.
An obvious question today would be, “Why make a counterfeit with precious metal?” The short answer is, “Platinum was not precious at that time!” Originally discovered among the leftovers from refining silver in Spanish colonial South America, it was named platino or “little silver.” It occurs natively, as well as in some nickel, gold, and copper ores — it was first found in South America, and then in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Platinum has a high melting point and can be difficult to work; with a little alloy metal added, the result can have the same density as gold. Its discovery was announced in 1748, and the first documented official shipment to Spain was in 1766. After summarizing platinum’s its early history in South America, Steve discussed what is known of the counterfeits.
We know of contemporary counterfeits of European gold coins with dates from the 1850s to the 1870s. Made from platinum and gold plated, some circumstantial evidence points to Barcelona or the surrounding area as the source. In 1979, G.P. Dyer published an informative paper on the counterfeits of British coins in the Bulletin on Counterfeits, but Steve has not been able to locate comparable studies of the counterfeits of French and Spanish gold coins. Dyer found no evidence of their manufacture after about 1880; possibly the rising price of platinum rendered continued counterfeiting uneconomical. A correctly attributed gold plated platinum sovereign, dated 1872, appeared in the December 2007 World Numismatic Auctions — it did not sell.
Steve concluded the program by wondering about the fate of these counterfeits — as the gilding wore off and their true nature was revealed, were these pieces scrapped as junk, or was their value as platinum recognized?
|CSNS Convention||Chicago Coin Company|
|PCDA Convention||Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.|
Items shown at our May 13, 2015 meeting,
reported by Marc Stackler
At 12:30 PM on Friday, April 24 at the 76th Anniversary Convention of the Central States Numismatic Society (April 22-25, 2015), American Numismatic Association President Walter Ostromecki made the following presentation to the Chicago Coin Club at their information booth on bourse floor. The certificate reads:
CHARTERED BY CONGRESS 1912
CHICAGO COIN CLUB, ILLINOIS
IS HEREBY RECOGNIZED FOR YOUR COMMITMENT AND SERVICE TO THE NUMISMATIC COMMUNITY IN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. YOUR PASSION FOR SHARING THE FUN OF THE NUMISMATIC HOBBY WITH CLUBS, COLLECTORS AND THE NON-COLLECTING GENERAL PUBLIC OF ALL AGES IS A SHINING EXAMPLE FOR US ALL! BECAUSE YOUR EFFORTS HAVE MADE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE IN THE NUMISMATIC EXPERIENCE OF MANY OTHERS, ANA PRESIDENT WALTER A. OSTROMECKI RECOGNIZES THIS OUTSTANDING NUMISMATIC COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT BY DESIGNATING YOU AS ‘A POINT OF NUMISMATIC LIGHT’. I AM PROUD TO HONOR YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUING EFFORTS TO NUMISMATICS!
May 2, 2015
Number 100 of 110
A group assembled to hear Walt make many complimentary remarks of the Club and express the ANA’s happiness to return to Chicago in 2019 to help celebrate the Club’s 100th Anniversary. He stated that the Chicago Coin Club is only the third club to receive ‘A POINT OF NUMISMATIC LIGHT recognition; certificate no. 100 was given to the Club with their upcoming centennial anniversary in mind. First V.P. Rich Lipman accepted the certificate on behalf of the Club.
May 20, 2015
The sixth meeting of the 2015 ANA Convention Committee was held May 20, 2015 in the offices of Harlan J. Berk, Ltd. 77 W. Washington, Suite 1320, Downtown Chicago. Host Chairman Jeffrey Rosinia called the meeting to order at 6 PM with the following committee members in attendance: Steve Zitowsky, Mark Wieclaw, Harlan Berk, Melissa Gumm, Marc Stackler, Elliott Krieter, Robert Feiler, Rich Lipman, and Carl Wolf.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:03PM.
Carl Wolf, Secretary
|Date:||June 10, 2015|
At the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court, 3rd floor meeting room. Please remember the security measures at our meeting building: everyone must show their photo-ID and register at the guard’s desk. Nearby parking: South Loop Self Park, 318 South Federal Street; that is two short blocks west of our meeting site. Note: Their typical rate of $33 is reduced to $9 if you eat at the Plymouth Restaurant, 327 S. Plymouth Court (next to our meeting site at the CBA) — show the restaurant your parking ticket, and ask for a parking voucher. The restaurant offers standard sandwiches, burgers, and salads for members who want to meet for dinner. Members start arriving at 5pm.
|Featured speaker:||Jeffrey Paunicka
— Currency Doctoring Detection
The popularity of currency collecting continues to grow. Since the high-grade-banknotes command premium prices, collectors need to become educated on how to distinguish the genuine-high-grade-banknotes from the artificially-improved-banknotes. Be sure to attend this presentation and learn the many ways damaged and lesser-graded banknotes are passed on without the buyer’s knowledge. Jeff Paunicka has over 50 years of experience as a currency collector and dealer. His program includes ways to detect repair of damage caused by: water, solvent, PVC, bleach, acid, pressing, starch, and more.
Unless stated otherwise, our regular monthly CCC Meeting is in downtown Chicago on the second Wednesday of the month; the starting time is 6:45PM.
|June||10||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - Jeffrey Paunicka on Currency Doctoring Detection|
|July||8||CCC Meeting - Featured Speaker - François R. Velde on Electrum Coinage|
|August||8-10||PNG/ANA Numismatic Trade Show. Admission by invitation or $10; details on the PNG Events Calendar at http://www.pngdealers.org/|
|August||11-15||ANA in Rosemont, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Admission is free for ANA members — for details, see http://www.worldsfairofmoney.com.|
|August||15||CCC Meeting - 1pm at the ANA convention,
which is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, IL.
No admission charge for our meeting.
Featured Speaker - to be announced
All correspondence pertaining to Club matters
should be addressed to the Secretary and mailed to:
CHICAGO COIN CLUB
P.O. Box 2301
CHICAGO, IL 60690
|Elected positions (two-year terms):|
|Elliott Krieter||- President|
|Richard Lipman||- First Vice President|
|Marc Stackler||- Second Vice President|
|William Burd||- Archivist|
|Jeffrey Rosinia||- Immediate Past President|
|Carl Wolf||- Secretary|
|Steve Zitowsky||- Treasurer|
|Paul Hybert||- Chatter Editor, webmaster|
|Robert Feiler||- ANA Club Representative|
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